Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Music was in the air....

Several recent musical nights sort of blended together.

None had made it into the blog. Time to correct that.

Even though I have been warned to use caution before I set my camera on "Fish Eye Effect," a smooth trombone slide just calls for it.

Sorry, couldn't resist. Excuse the distortion.

Steve Rogness kept playing and I kept shooting.

This was at the Pour House with Davina & the Vagabonds, a band from the Twin Cities of Minnesota, pounding out Old Time Blues and jazz.


Davina was in charge at the keys and jiving swing dancers were sweeping all around the dance floor.

I decided black and white images would capture the upbeat moment.

(I sent this image to Davina and she posted it on her Facebook page.)

Yes, I credited the PoHo and added my wish that they return again soon.

This was the second show for me that night.

Had raced out to the club on Maybank Highway after an enjoyable musical evening with Robert Cray and his band, Hi Rhythm.

This was the fourth or fifth time I have seen Mr. Cray and this might have been the best.

The sound of course in the Charleston Music Hall is superb and he and the band were on fire.

I had learned to turn off the green light that shoots from the camera to enhance focus.

Not only does it distract the players, ushers are quick to come tap me on the shoulder and say NO.

 And the focus was spot on.

I caught some facial expressions that were intense and showed the musician deep, deep into his playing.

Changing shutter speeds, depending on the stage lighting, has become second-nature, so the action was captured very sharp.

Head thrown back in emotion, grimacing at a sad passage, it was an exciting time.

All around me, cell phones were capturing images but I had a camera with a variable zoom lens. I controlled the lighting and camera speeds.

His hands were in constant motion on the strings.

I really didn't know I had caught his "pickin' hand" at a peak moment, until later as I went through the shots I had taken that night.

You can watch a performer and sometimes can gauge what might come next.

That moment when the face is NOT hidden by the microphone.

There is a pacing and rhythm that develops and I try to tune in to catch a brief, fleeting instant.

Robert came through for me this evening.

 The best recent "two-fer" was the combo of Taj Mahal and Keb Mo onstage at the Gaillard.

Have enjoyed both musicians separately and this was an interesting pairing.

Taj always has been a commanding presence as contrasted with the laidback smoothness of Keb Mo.

The chemistry was cooking that night and the jam-packed crowd lapped it up.

(I still wonder why there are no JumboTrons flanking the stage to accommodate the fans in the balcony seats at the back of the hall. I see them in lots of venues.)

I usually am able to shop early for tickets and get seats nice and up front so I can see all the action up close.

In fact, for this show, I could swear I was listening to the two guitars right in front of me while the amplified sound soared above me, over my head. To the balconies.

Makes for an intimate concert setting.

The two bounced back and forth with their individual hits and also presented tracks from the new album where they blend voices, sounds, and style.

A rare treat by two of my favorites.

At home a few days later, I asked my Google Alexa to "play me some Keb Mo."

It started with the opening song by RajMo.

Thanks, Alexa.


Keb Mo was his usual relaxed performer.

These seasoned pros knew what the audience wanted and they delivered.

A lady seated to my left had glanced over when I was checking some shots and nudged me and asked if I could send a few to her.

I had seen her stretching to get a good angle on her cell phone but her seat placed the microphone in front of the face for most of her tries.

No empty seats or space to maneuver so I agreed I would send some if she emailed me how to contact her.

 I handed her my card and Catherine thanked me and said she would send a request.

Never heard from her so she probably lost my card. Too bad. I had some good ones.

I wanted to drop in a shot of the opener for the TajMo Show.

The banjo player announced he had played for 12 years with the Carolina Chocolate Drops.

His banjo playing was great - as was the bassist who also played the violin - and it set a nice tone for the show that followed.

He said they were excited to be traveling as the openers for this great duo and band.

He had shown us his chops in root music so I hoped he would add some jug music but that wasn't on their set list. He did play the bones.

This was an overdue time to recap some of the fine music I had seen and heard.

I am a supporter of live music and had a terrific tripleheader.

Oh, and a good opener act.

(Click on the links and photos for more details.)

Thank for hanging out with me at several different venues.







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Friday, October 13, 2017

Welcome to the 21st Century...

 Coming up on 10 years as the 21st Century Photography Group, I'm taking a look back over my shoulder.

Pleased to see we are still an active bunch of friendly and talented photographers and wannabes.

It has been a decade of change as we saw the rivalry between Nikon and Canon have to adjust to the number of people using cell phones to take pictures.

Now there's a 10-year old battle between the iPhone fans and the androids.

When I was growing up I used to drop off a roll of film at Walgreens - 12 or 24 exposures - and, a week later, got them back. Some were ok.

While in high school, I built a home darkroom so I cut the time-lag between shooting and seeing.

Digital means now you "click" and look at the back of the camera to see what you have.

Then adjust and shoot it again.

To give hands-on experience, we invite members to go on outings.

This is in addition to the regular second Wednesday meetings at the Carolina Ice Palace.

There we have a private space where we can dim the lights for Show and Tell, use our projector, pass around a microphone so all can hear and see what others are doing with the cameras.

When we go out in the field, the challenge is to pick places that are great for landscape photographers, architectural fans or nature lovers. Sometimes we go to historic places, we have had models join us on some shoots, street photography is a natural during 2nd Sunday on King Street.

For example, we have done themed outings-with-cameras to learn how to use dark filters in bright sunshine that lets us shoot at slower speeds and see how it affects rivers, or fountains or waterfalls.

Moving water slowed way down, becoming filmy or cloudy or leaving tracks on the beach as the waves roll in and recede out.

Co-Coordinator Rudy Lutge is very informative and knowledgeable so he often lectures and demonstrates how it's done.

In fact, Rudy was the presenter last week. Some members commented:



  • Diana O'Donnell
    Diana O'Donnell
    Really enjoyed last night's get together. Already learned a lot. Looking forward to the next time!
    Like · Reply · 8h ago · Mute
  • Tonya
    Tonya
    I had a great time and learned so much!!! Thank you Rudy for teaching me about the filters and the triangle!!! See everyone again soon!
    Like · Reply · 9h ago · Mute
  • Chuck
    Chuck
    Lots of new faces and long-timers. Spirited conversations about Macro and ND from Rudy who knows his stuff!
    2 · Like · Reply · 12h ago · Mute
  • Dc
    Dc
    Good Meetup, Rudy did an excellent job!
    Like · Reply · 12h ago · Mute
  • Susan Turner
    Susan Turner
    Awesome meeting. Rudy gave a wonderful talk. I am so glad I found out about meetup and found this group.
    Like · Reply · 14h ago · Mute

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    Sunday, October 08, 2017

    12th Anniversary coming up.....

    The "marriage" with my 2006 Saturn Quad Ion has had some counseling and adjustments. I am happy that we are still together!

    You could say that cooler heads had good ideas that made our day.
    We handled a hot problem that was a surprise when it popped up.

    The mechanics at AAA Car Care heard my version of our A/C difficulties and then did their own consultation under-the-hood with the Saturn. 

    They agreed that some changes had to be made and they had a fact-filled discussion with me. I was optimistic that there might be a simple solution to keep us bonded to each other.

    Fantastic features on a small vehicle had originally caught my eye.
             
    The hope-for-a-small-leak-that-could-be-fixed-easily did not happen. 

    The $90 diagnostic showed that replacing the condenser was the only option that could be considered, and the reality of our surrounding climate and humidity made that decision easy - we had to chill. 

    Half of the cost was for the parts and the other half was the capable hands that did the labor.
              
    Experiences during the 11-year union showed that I had properly responded to the GM recall of the ignition system snafu and the Saturn's main expense to me had been only a replacement of her windshield after a 3rd party big gravel truck threw a rock at it. No guilt or fault by either of us.
              
    No extravagant expenses on either side. Always Regular at the pumps. Steady attention to detail in the partnership meant oil changes somewhat close to what the silly oil-change people suggested. 

    New "shoes" when appropriate where the rubber meets the road. No "nickel and dime" expenses had popped up. The Saturn had NOT ever "run home to mother" at the dealership. (Well, the dealership itself had changed its partner years ago.)
              
    In short, this $560 A/C challenge could be handled without a drastic disruption of a fine relationship. A two-year warranty on the parts sealed the deal.

    It has been a happy companionship and we look forward to December when we celebrate our 12th anniversary together.

    No sticker shock then..and still none now.

    I have noticed prices have gone up - a lot - since I entered into this relationship.

    My thought is I got more for my money than I ever expected.

    Unique design and features at an affordable cost.

    Can't begin to imagine what features a 2017 Saturn would have offered.




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    Saturday, September 30, 2017

    Thirsty for some new brews....





    11 days ago, the long-awaited Edmund's Oast Brewing Company opened its doors as the 21st local craft beer brewery.

    I was fortunate to have General Manager Devin T. Marquardt chat with me at the bar and give me a behind-the-scenes tour of the new facility.

    They will be adding additional products and right now are pouring four new draft beers and two cask ales.

    First cask ale I've had at a brewery. It bodes well for the future.

    Closed For Business on King Street has one cask setup and, I believe, there are two cask stations on Vanderhorst at Kudu. The problem has been getting the beverage from a brewery.

    Up till now, brewers had to juggle things around to make a small, delicate batch of this ale.

    Time and circumstances dictated when this might happen.

    Apparently, bars were never sure when a keg would become available.

    Now we have a local brewer who is committed to brewing it often to supply its own taps daily and, of course, to pour at its nearby namesake restaurant.

    A few weeks ago, as this area began to hunker down for the approaching hurricane Irma, there was a long-awaited opening of local craft brewery number 20.

    Well, Pawleys Island Brewing in North Charleston had not factored in a hurricane but the opening went well.

    Head Brewer Daren McLean gave a guided tour and explained the steps involved in making their beers.

    A Friday-after-work group from nearby Bosch arrived and quickly designated this would become a weekly local stop.

    Founder Fraser Blake, was behind the bar, talking about their goals for the brand new entity.

    All around him, snazzy new blue t-shirts were being sold that displayed the turtle logo elements.

    Several other new breweries are planned around the Charleston area and a few are close to opening, notably Munkle on upper King and Commonhouse Aleworks on O'Hear  in the Park Circle area.

    Living in Hanahan, the East Montague 3-block beer, wine, and eats places are close at hand so any and all new openings have my attention.

    As usual, I will stop in, sample what they have to offer and try to spread the word with my blog.

    It's a pleasant task...which just happens to rhyme with Cask!

    .
    * I had a vast array of casks while in Europe and the UK. 

    Here I am in Edinburgh after the barkeep offered to let me "pull my own."


    I had asked if I could take a photo of him pulling my choice and he said "NO."


    I was taken aback until he added: "It will be me taking a picture of you doing that!


    And he did. 


    It tasted delicious.


    I can add barkeep to my resume.


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    Saturday, September 23, 2017

    Something about "compound interest"....

    I receive a daily "newsletter" from San Diego compiled and edited by former newspapermen (and women) who had worked for the San Diego Union-Tribune newspaper.

    I was a staff photographer there in the 1960s and belonged to the editorial staff as opposed to pressmen and plate makers.

    I like to submit an item now and then and the "Editor" Jack Reber graciously includes them in the newsletters.

    Here is a recent one I submitted:

      CHUCK BOYD writes:

    I had mentioned a while back that in 1964 I took a photo of QUIET plowed into a field near Miramar. The paper was not interested so I offered it to LIFE magazine.

    Back in the sixties, LIFE was a biggie and the photo staff all had fired off photos, hoping to be part of this national treasure. 

    We usually received polite rejection slips.
              
    This time they CALLED me to say they wanted it for the Miscellany Page at the back of the magazine. A full page in LIFE!
              
    It ran in 1964 (yes, I have a copy or two) and I received not only a photo credit for me - and the newspaper - but also a check for $300. Wow.
              
    I was telling someone about this and he said: "I wonder what that would be worth in today's dollars?" I Googled that query and got this back...
              
    According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the dollar experienced an average inflation rate of 3.98% per year. Prices in 2017 are 689.6% higher than prices in 1964.
              
    In other words, $300 in the year 1964 is equivalent to $2,368.90 in 2017, a difference of $2,068.90 over 53 years.
              
    Too bad I didn't invest that $300.




    Today there was a follow-up comment by a fellow photographer:


    ERNIE COWAN writes:

    Regarding payment for Chuck Boyd's "Quiet" image:

    Sadly, today the photographer would earn very little for a similar shot. The advent of digital photography and good cameras has made everyone a "photographer." 

    Two examples:
              
    I lead photo tours and it amazes me that just about everyone who participates has a business card
    Identifying them as some kind of photographer. Most have no real clue about taking pictures. 

    Also, I was recently contacted by a resort asking to buy some of my images to promote their property. 

    I quoted standard rates, and the person at the other end laughed, saying "I could find dozens of similar images on Facebook for $15 each."



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    Sunday, September 10, 2017

    "My Friend Irma"....NOT!

    When we first heard about the huge category 5 Hurricane Irma with winds of 180mph heading our way, the state of South Carolina paid attention. 

    Many still remembered the devastation by Hurricane Hugo in 1989  when it clobbered Charleston with a direct hit. 

    As it got closer, the "spaghetti" trails on the weather forecasts seemed to center on Charleston,

    Well, it sure seemed that way to me!

    OK, we all began preparations to be ready. 


    I moved all of my deck plants inside.

    I stored chairs, tables, lamps and other items that would fly around like deadly missiles in the projected huge wind.

    I did leave up all the wind chimes, 

    I remembered my dad telling me years ago "Don't hang up another one, there's not enough wind for two." 

    I think he was joking.

    He also said he didn't like all the noise they produced.

    Dad could be difficult at times. He thought the same of me I am sure.

    A gallon of water per day per person seemed to be the norm suggested. I was all set for the long haul.

    Glad I thought ahead because about a week out, all the  expensive bottled water suddenly evaporated from store shelves. 

    I filled empty sweet tea jugs with tap water.

    Also, the bathtub would be filled to be used to flush toilets if needed. Plan for the unexpected.
    I also saw a telling sign at Home Depot.

    This warning alerted buyers of generators not to even think about bringing it back after the storm passed.

    You buy it, you keep it.

    Mine is 11 years old and has NEVER been used during an emergency.

    I did crank it up ever so often and followed the suggestion to drain the gas out each year so things didn't get all gummed up.

    Armed with a generator,  I decided to hunker down and ride it out. 

    I hoped for the best and reminded myself this house withstood Hugo and all the other storms since it was built in the 1950s. 

    The 2-story is elevated and never has had more than a large puddle form in the yard so not likely to be flooded.

    My buddy booked a room for himself in Atlanta for Sunday and Monday, just in case we remained a major target on the weather forecasts. He also could cancel on short notice.

    Charleston started to relax a bit as the projected track wandered Westward. 

    The warning tone shifted to a pretty sure tidal surge but I live 12 miles from the coast so didn't worry about beach erosion in my back yard. 

    Those with houses on beaches had real concerns of course and it could be very damaging from flooding and brute force slamming ashore on a high tide.

    I asked my brother about his son living in Tampa, the new designated ground zero after Irma had her way in the keys and lumbered up the state. 

    He responded that the family of four people - and 2 dogs - had hopped in their van and were heading to stay here until it was safe to return to Tampa/Clearwater.

    The wind is still just a breeze this Sunday afternoon and, on my tv in the background, I am hearing dire reports from Florida as well as detailed local updates from our mayors, first responders, and even the Coast Guard. We are indeed a harbor city.

    Hope to wake up tomorrow with an all clear as stormy Irma decreases intensity and continues limping north into hurricane history.

    (Click on the photos for more details.) 

    Thanks for hunkering down with me. 
    Hope you and your families are safe.



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    Saturday, August 26, 2017

    "It's Istanbul, not Constantinople......."

    I remember the ditty about what was once called Constantinople, that is now known as Istanbul.

    It must have been a geography lesson in high school. so that would have been in 1953 - 1957.

    The "Queen of Cities," as it was known during the middle ages, was the capital of the Byzantine Empire until it fell in 1453, and then the Ottoman Empire until 1930.

    That's when the name was changed by the Turkish National Reforms.

    Google or Bing told me all this. It was NOT from my 1950s memory.

    I did know I liked strong Turkish coffee.

    After my haircut at Great Clips near Tanger outlets, I stopped in to check out a new restaurant that had just opened.

    The hostess Nicole greeted me at the door and gave me a tour, telling me all about the new buffet offerings.

    I asked how long had it been open and she said: "Seventeen days and tomorrow will be my first day off!" 

    Nicole was smiling so I knew she was related and not just an employee.

    I mentioned I had enjoyed Turkish foods while vacationing overseas,

    Especially kabobs.

    She asked if I preferred chicken or lamb I said both so I watched the chef fanning two kabobs being cooked over a charcoal fire.

    My meal was coming together.

    The shawarma was being shaved off both the chicken and the lamb/beef combo as they slowly turned on vertical spits


    I saw the fresh pita bread next to the familiar hummus and the roasted eggplant dip.

    Aha..Baba Ghanoush.

    Nicole oversaw the construction of my buffet meal.

    I tasted the Falafel and several variations of eggplant.

    The several round tasty balls of falafel were what I thought might be Middle Eastern hush puppies.

    Turned out to be crunchy, spicy rolled up chickpeas.

    So they were added to my plate with pita bread, along with the hummus and Baba Ghonoush

    As I started eating, more customers came in and one couple asked about the sushi?

    Nicole explained there was no sushi and agreed that, yes, the sign with "Shish" did sort of look like sushi and she seated them and started pointing out various items on the menu.

    I was shown two types of Turkish coffee. I picked one and Nicole said she would start getting it ready.

    Like most foods and beverages, it needed to be fresh and hot.

    I added "and strong," served in a demitasse cup.

    She brought a cup and poured the thick, dark coffee and advised me to wait a bit before drinking it.

    "It is hot of course, but it's unfiltered so give it a few moments to let the grounds settle."

    I waited and sipped the strong flavored coffee, pretty sure this was not on the menu at Starbucks.

    The meal break just happened when I noticed the restaurant newcomer. It was a pleasant meal experience and I am sure I'll stop by again.

    Leaving, I looked closely at the sign. I didn't think it said Sushi at all.


    *I added a photo that shows more of my buffet meal.

    Man does not live on pita alone.

    (Click on the images and links for more details.)

    Actually, I was in the area again a few days later and stopped by.

    This time I tried the Turkish coffee with the green label.

    After it cooled and I sipped I realized that GREEN is the worldwide symbol for decaffeinated coffee.

    Yikes.

    It lacked the "punch" of the other cup I had had on my earlier visit.


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    Thursday, August 24, 2017

    Hey, it's getting darker....

    Yes, as L'il Orphan Annie sang, "The sun'll come out tomorrow," after the stunning and awesome 2017 eclipse in Charleston, S.C.
             
    I had planned it pretty good. 

    Slipping on my approved solar glasses, I had checked where the sun was in the sky several days at 2 pm when I stood on my deck in Hanahan.

    It looked like I could be seated comfortably and track it easily as the sun was gobbled up by the moon and arced across the sky.

    The total black out would happen before the sun dipped behind trees, so I was good to go!

    Unfortunately, those pesky clouds rolled in about two minutes before the eclipse reached totality.

    Sadly, I stepped inside and watched the "money shot" scene on tv. Bummer!

    It could be seen happening about 12 miles away on our barrier islands of Mount Pleasant and the Isle of Palms. 

    Coastal breezes that we usually love had blown all the clouds my way!
              
    Until the sun was blanked out, I had enjoyed watching the crescent sun that gradually mimicked the moon on our state flag before the rains came.

    I went back out on my deck, taking off the safety glasses.

    The sudden and complete brief 2-minute afternoon darkness was awesome!

    It got quiet - no birds chirping -  and all of my solar-powered yard and deck lights came on. 

    My confused indoor cat ambled off to take yet another brief nap.
              
    Several members of my Photo Group* were in the right places nearby and posted some really nice photos, (thanks, Rudy Lutge) including this great "Diamond Ring" one by Brian Smith.
              
    I had planned to relax and just enjoy the experience and not even bother taking photos for a change. 

    I saw my neighbor and family in their back yard, sitting in chairs and looking up and, later holding altered cereal boxes to get a pinhole camera effect.

    Member of the 21st Century Photo Group, Joseph Nienstedt, was able to shoot through a thin layer of clouds 

    He caught this crisp shot as the sun started peeking out around the shadowing moon.

     This was when I would have put my solar glasses back on if I had had that great view.

    I think I scared some folks the day before when I posted a picture of my real solar dark glasses and a pair of some old 3-D glasses I found in a drawer.

    There was concern that I was dumb enough to damage my eyes wearing the wrong pair.

    I knew that National Geographic - and the NASA people in town - would produce better images than I could hope to with my small pocket-size Canon sx280HS. 


    Hmm, but it does have a 25mm - 500mm zoom lens.

    Fortunately, my group members really came through.

    I was disappointed to have missed the several minutes of the awesome totality.

    Our tv weather persons were very apologetic about the cloud cover that wiped out views in Summerville, Ladson, North Charleston, Hanahan, and others.

    NBC's Al Roker, was aboard the USS Yorktown over at Patriot's Point in Mt. Pleasant.

    Al gave his morning report on the Today Show and stuck around to see the eclipse from the last view spot in the United States in South Carolina.

    He and all the people who chose to drive to the beaches made good choices and saw the heavenly display.

    (Click on the photos and links for more details.)

    Hopefully, you were in a clear sky spot and enjoyed the total experience.

    2024 I'll get another chance. Think I'll head to the beach.





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